To Steffen Peters, the freestyle is always a big party.

And party he did at Desert International Horse Park, taking the victory with Suppenkasper in the FEI Dressage World Cup™️ Grand Prix Freestyle on Saturday afternoon.

As horse people, in the summer of 2021, we all recall being sent DMs from our non-horse friends of Peters and “Mopsie” raving to club anthems including “What Is Love” and “Calabria,” which made up the American Olympic dressage rider’s freestyle soundtrack. Well, he kept the music and the routine only improves over time.

“It’s pretty simple,” Peters, of San Diego, CA, said of his song choice. “When you play music at parties, there are certain songs that get most people on the dance floor. I feel like those are songs that would do it. I appreciate the emotional freestyles a lot, but to me the freestyle is always a big party. I think the music is reflecting that.”

Kevin Hart and Snoop Dogg even got in on the action, breaking down Peters’ ride in a way only the two of them know how. Peters almost had the chance to introduce his horse to the celebrities.

“It was so neat,” Peters said of Mopsie’s internet fame. “Right after we left [Tokyo], a producer for Kevin Hart and Snoop Dogg called and they were having fun watching Mopsie. They actually asked if I could bring Mopsie to their studio in Burbank.”

In Peters’ mind, he pictured Akiko Yamazaki and Four Winds Farm’s 18.2-hand Dutch Warmblood gelding alongside 5-foot-4 Kevin Hart and couldn’t help but laugh. The fateful meeting did not end up happening, but the idea still brings a smile to Peters’ face.

When it comes down to the riding, however, Peters knows his partner through and through, and this freestyle, debuted at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, simply keeps getting better. On Saturday, the pair earned valuable points towards FEI World Cup™ Finals in the Desert International Horse Park’s first CDI World Cup Qualifying event. They first won Friday’s Four Winds Farm FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix then the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix Freestyle.

“[This was] definitely one of his better freestyles. It was nice to see all judges’ scores over 80%; that certainly is exciting and that’s what I was hoping for to start the [FEI] World Cup season with. It’s amazing; I still don’t have to push Mopsie for a single movement. He still wants to go, wants to do it, feels very elastic and energetic. Even though it’s been many years, I still feel very honored to ride a horse like Mopsie,” Peters reflected.

©Terri Miller

The score, specifically, was 82.020%, which earned them a convincing win. Peters has his eye on FEI World Cup Finals in Omaha, NE, in April of 2023 with his Olympic and World Championship mount, but he knows just how tall of an order that qualification will be. 

With one win under his belt, he and his “Rave Horse” now focus on the CDI World Cup Qualifying event at DIHP in December, then again in January, hoping for repeat victories and more opportunities to party.

Feature image: ©Terri Miller